LINDBERG is perhaps best described a brand well-known to those who know.
Based in Aarhus, Denmark’s culturally rich second city, the company’s eyeglasses are a favorite of celebrities, world leaders, and dedicated customers who appreciate LINDBERG’s obsessive focus on quality, design, and service. Prized for being elegantly crafted frames devoid of screws and unnecessary ephemera, LINDBERG frames are timeless yet at the same time, thoroughly modern.
The result of this reputation is that, once you know about the brand, LINDBERG frames are instantly recognizable – for all the right reasons.
Recently, we had the unique opportunity to visit the LINDBERG headquarters, learn about the company, immerse ourselves in Danish culture, and gain a deep appreciation for the unique qualities that make this brand so distinct.
As part of their #LINDBERGBehindClosedDoors project, we were among a small group of fashion influencers from around the world to get a behind the scenes look at LINDBERG’s Scandinavian home base. What we found was much more than simply a maker of high-end eyewear and sunglasses, though to be sure their products are some of the most finely crafted and elegantly minimalist on the market.
The company and its people, the culture, thoughts on design and heritage, and the philosophies that bind them all together, are only some of the many elements underlying LINDBERG’s quiet success. They do not strive to make noise just for the sake of attention. Rather, their highly respected products and commitment to the very Danish values of “work hard and play hard” do all the talking.
From cocktails at the home of Director of Sales and Marketing Peter Warrer, to briefings with CEO Henrik Lindberg, son of founder Poul-Jørn Lindberg, to tours of the production floor and design offices, one thing stands out. The privately-held company truly operates as a family and this approach permeates every aspect of operations.
While exploring the firm’s headquarters, there was a palpable sense of individual ownership from everyone we met; total buy-in to the mission and a desire to create the best eyewear for their customers. What can they innovate now and what’s next? But, it’s not some corporate manufactured theme; it’s a genuine affection for the company infused with national pride.
A great example of this particular approach to running a luxury brand is Henrik Lindberg’s shed, located smack in the center of the production floor. It’s that cool little building shown at the top of this article, complete with Danish flag. Danes are very patriotic and the national flag was everywhere.
Henrik wanted a quiet place where he could rest, think, sketch new designs and take the occasional nap, so he built a real Danish country cabin – with a working stove – right in the middle of everything. It’s whimsical but also telling; fun and irreverent but available to anyone. It is also a symbol of Danish pride and hygge, a Danish term that refers to spending time with family and friends.
And, that is how everything began – all of us together at Peter’s house on the edge of a forest laced with walking paths and hugging the shore of a lovely lake. We got to know each other, had a few drinks and took some time to explore his comfortable and J.Crew photo shoot-worthy house before strolling through the wood to dinner.
Our visit with LINDBERG encompassed more than just learning about their eyewear; it was an in-depth exploration of Danish culture, history, design, food, and values. Therefore, we will explore these varied themes across several posts. For now, we will focus on the company and learning all about LINDBERG’s exceptional eyewear.
As a vertically integrated company, LINDBERG controls every aspect of its business, from sourcing raw materials to product design and manufacture, marketing and communications to customized packaging. In fact, the company even created in-house the virtual reality invitations sent to each of us.
LINDBERG revolutionized eyewear design back in the early 1980s by making lightweight glasses using just titanium wire to hold the lenses in place. For the first time ever, glasses could be attractive and functional without being clunky, heavy, and prone to getting broken. Once a tiny Danish company, today it is compact and efficient but with a global footprint that belies its size and lack of pretense.
A string of award-winning designs, currently more than 77 of them, led to a re-imagining of some of the very basic tenets of the fashion eyewear business, culminating in a game-changing modular design and logistics concept that now means every single LINDBERG frame is customized and assembled for the wearer to whom it is intended. In a nutshell, this means they do no mass production at all.
LINDBERG frames don’t just look beautiful – even details you can’t see are superbly engineered and crafted. Often the emphasis lies in what isn’t there; no welds, screws, rivets, or hinges, for example.
With it’s single-minded focus on design and innovation, LINDBERG is now a world-renowned trendsetter in the fashion eyewear market, with products that have become design icons that are immediately recognizable throughout the world. The company also leads in innovative designs and construction methods that have broken new ground in technical features and materials, and opened up new markets for high-impact fashion eyewear.
Every frame is individually put together and hand-finished in LINDBERG’s finishing lab. The high-end Precious and Horn ranges, are indeed handcrafted in every detail. It’s worth remembering that LINDBERG frames aren’t mass-produced in huge batches. There is an exceptional degree of artisan skill involved in manufacturing and finishing each frame and each craftsman typically has years of experience.
The company’s preoccupation with good design extends way behind just frames, encompassing packaging, displays, LINDBERG Interior Design (LID) in-store solutions, advertising materials, and everything that makes even the tiniest contribution to ways that people experience LINDBERG and its products. And, as we noted previously, it’s all conceived, designed, and developed in-house.
Our thanks to the great folks at LINDBERG for this remarkable opportunity and for being such gracious and generous hosts. Peter Warrer and his marketing team are exceptionally talented individuals who are passionate about LINDBERG and creative beyond measure. They think way outside the box. Actually, they just set that box aside and head in the other direction.
Not only did they teach themselves virtually reality branding integration, essentially just for our benefit, they literally create large-scale marketing opportunities from whole cloth. For example, to announce a new and very cool frame collection, LINDBERG’s marketing team purchased a high-powered digital projector and took it on the road. Using trucks, cars, and even a boat, they engaged in big time guerrilla advertising – projecting LINDBERG’s signature minimalist cool branding on everything from buildings and bridges to Big Ben.
Permits? What are permits? We love these people.
Stay tuned for more on our visit with LINDBERG and journey through Danish culture and design.